Creation and The Age of Adaline

We would appreciate your prayers for some of the upcoming events in Sydney:

Russ will be speaking on the purpose of creation at Rouse Hill Bible Church. We will be travelling through Psalm 104, we will look at the majesty of creation, but try to find the purpose of it all.

Pray as we engage on this massive topic of God’s creation and its purpose.

Details on rousehillchurch.org

The Forum goes to the Flicks: The Age of Adaline

City Bible Forum will be hosting an engaging evening of film and discussion with some of the industry’s commentators. After the film, Ben McEachen (Empire Magazine, Open House) and Renee Brack (Writer and industry professional) will discuss the film and what it says about life and eternity.

Please pray for the evangelistic opportunities from this event.

Details on citybibleforum.org/sydney

Praising the Lord for a wonderful weekend with Dr. Mark Harwood

Why won’t they listen? Have you wondered why your witnessing falls flat and people fail to respond? Many comment that science has disproved the Bible and therefore it is not relevant to today’s modern world. But what’s the answer? Can the majority of scientists really be wrong?Dr Mark Harwood delivered a powerful message ‘Going Where the Evidence Leads’ on Sunday 22 March.

The conversations about creation were wonderful and challenging for our church family.

Details on rousehillchurch.org

Adjustments of post-furlough

It has been great getting home, but the realities of the life of ministry have set in. There are many different things that we are excited to participate, but now is the time to determine what is the right things for us to put our efforts. Pray that we continue to follow the Lord’s direction for all things.

We are grateful for your prayers and support.

The Matthews family

 

The four keys to happiness, ministries and school begins

We are rolling into the new year with The Forum, Bible studies at Rouse Hill Bible Church, scripture classes, Bible Study Fellowship and school beginning.

Please be praying for all of these items for us.  If you would like to find out more about each of these events, click on the links.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

The adventure continues,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Joshua and Caroline

The Forum

 

The four keys to happiness with Dr Sam Chan

 

 

 

 

Rouse Hill Bible Church

 

 

Home again

Thank you for all of your prayers and support over furlough. We are back home in Sydney. We are looking forward to 2015.

Please pray for the planning for the ministries of the coming year.

City Bible Forum, Rouse Hill Bible Church, scripture classes and Bible Study Fellowship

Unbroken on the radio 

Hope you can stay up to listen to 2CH 1170AM’s Sunday Night program next Sunday night, 11 January

Dominic Steele interviews City Bible Forum’s film reviewer Russ Matthews about faith in the new film release, Unbroken

You can listen on-line or on that thing called a radio: 2CH

Russelling Reviews on the film Unbroken

Missions Vehicle

Thanks for your prayers and support for our missions vehicle. We are thrilled to announce that we received the funds for our vehicle.

 

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Living for Jesus links, the van and debunking the rest myth

It happened again this past Sunday, someone asked the question, “Are you getting some rest during your furlough?”

Our friends in Australia may think we are on an extended holiday. Our friends in the US may think we are just resting up for the next few years in overseas ministry. We just wanted to debunk one of the myths of the missionary lifestyle: Furlough is not a time for rest or holiday.

We came to the US to reconnect with supporters and family, share the needs of the ministry and thank those that support the work in Australia. Rest and relaxation are not the priority for this time in the US. We have enjoyed times with friends and family, but rest is not the primary emphasis for this trip. The misconception is completely understandable, due to the historical application of furlough. We wanted to clarify  that our goal is work hard and finish well as we get closer to going home to Australia.

Just to give you a bit of perspective, here are some of the numbers during the last few months: 12 church presentations (Most Sundays we travel to different churches and the day involves 2-3 presentations), we were involved in 2 missions conferences, 29 dinners (Supporters or sharing about the ministry), 3 youth events, a three week Living for Jesus course, supporters road trips to South Dakota and Kansas City, and a multitude of one-to-one meetings (Thankfully most of these involved coffee!). This is not a point of pride, but a way to communicate that furlough is not meant to be a time for rest.

Our only regret would be not being able to see more people during our time in the US, but our time here is coming to an end. We have been blessed by our time here and we are thankful for your prayers and all who took the time to connect with us. Thank you to the churches, pastors and supporters that have opened their doors to our family. It has been a privilege to share what the Lord is doing in Australia.

Thankfully, furlough was not meant to be a time for rest, but a time to celebrate what the Lord has been doing around the world.

Living for Jesus links

The Living for Jesus course at Ankeny Free Church was a one of the highlights of this trip.

Some were not able to come along on the night. Here are the links to the talks. If you are interested in the worksheets, email me.

Week 1 – Remarkable Integrity: Lives worth questioning, answers worth hearing

Week 2 – An Eye for the Harvest: Workplace as a Mission Field

Week 3 – Speaking of God’s Mercy: Talking about Jesus at Work

Thank you to Pastor Colyer and the team at AFC for supporting this course and I pray the Lord uses it to reach more people for Christ.

Funds for ministry vehicle

As we conclude the US trip, one of the key fundraising components is to replace our current missions vehicle. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle. We would need to raise approximately $20,000 for the vehicle.

If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we would appreciate the support.

Van Donation link: Enter in these details: Matthews ministry vehicle, Account: 0132363

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season. Keep living for the Lord and thank you for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, hope, Joshua and Caroline

Matthews Down Under Iowa tour – Cold, home sick, but warm welcomes

We will admit it, we have become a bit soft when it comes to the cold.

It is cold in Iowa. Most mornings have been well below freezing and snow has already arrived. This is a thrill for Caroline, since it is the first time she has experienced snow. But, even she admits going out into the cold has been quite an adjustment and makes us yearn for Sydney. Our time in Iowa and the US here has been great, but the cold is quite an adjustment. Yet, Iowa is still an amazing place to be during this time of year. There is a beauty to the countryside and the people.

We are in the last few weeks of our time with our supporters and family in Iowa. All of the churches have been welcoming  and we have been encouraged by the growth of many of the churches. We have enjoyed many dinners and times of prayer with supporters. These experiences have been humbling and invigorating. People have been receptive and excited about the various ministries at City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church. Thank you to all of the churches and supporters for the warm welcomes in the cold winter months.

Please pray that we would finish our time in Iowa well, enjoy the celebration with friends and family during the Christmas holidays and celebrate with us as we look forward to getting home to serve in Sydney soon. Our schedule is pretty full until our departure for Sydney, but we hope to see more people before we leave.

Living for Jesus

The Living for Jesus course at Ankeny Free Church has been such a blessing. Over the last few weeks we have had a full room of people discussing the workplace as a mission field and how to share their faith with their work colleagues. We finish this coming week. Pray the Lord bless and people take the information on board and God is glorified through the work of Living for Jesus.

The course has been recorded and if anyone would like the notes and links, please contact me in the coming weeks.

Thank you to Pastor Colyer and the team at AFC. I has been a privilege to serve with you this month.

Funds for ministry vehicle

A specific project we are working on is replacing our current ministry vehicle. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we would appreciate the support. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle. We need to raise $20K for this project.

Van Donation link: Enter in these details: Matthews ministry vehicle, Account: 0132363

City Bible Forum : ABWE project

With the ministry in Australia, we are taking the Good News to where people spend most of their time: the workplace. By teaming up with the urban evangelism organisation City Bible Forum, The team is sharing Christ inside businesses and training Christians to reach their unsaved coworkers with the gospel.

You can help us do more. Nearly $10,000 is needed to facilitate the final two 2014 series of The Forum, a bi-weekly public lunchtime discussion that welcomes seekers, questioners, and believers to learn more about the Bible inside their workplace. Your donation will help cover the cost of renting venue space and audio/visual equipment, along with paying for speaker fees and promotional materials.

Will you help us reach more Australians where they live?

If mailing a check: Please make it out to ABWE Foundation and include Urban Ministry-City Bible Forum L1410 in the memo line.

Thank you for all you do for our family and please pray for the opportunities in the US over the next few weeks.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

 

* Just a friendly reminder: We do serve in Sydney and our spelling is based on Australian spelling. Thank you for reminders about our spelling, but we hope you understand that we live in a different country. 

 

The Big Picture, City Bible Forum project and ministry vehicle

It has been a busy month in the US, but some exciting things going on…

The Big Picture Missions Conference at Saylorville Church

We had a wonderful time at the missions conference. It was an encouraging time with the church family. Our family enjoyed time with cell groups, men’s & women’s events, the Saylorville Youth, panel discussions, missionary Christmas and the Sunday morning services.

Praise the Lord, the church was very full and a woman came to know Jesus as her Saviour in the morning.

Thank you to Saylorville Church. Please go to the Facebook link and the website to see many of the images and videos from the events.

Funds for ministry vehicle

We need your help: A specific project we are working on is replacing our current ministry vehicle. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we appreciate the support.

Van Donation link: Enter in these details: Matthews ministry vehicle, Account: 0132363

City Bible Forum : ABWE project

According a 2013 report in Christianity Today, faith in Christ is on a steady decline in Australia.

To stop this trend, our missionaries are taking the Good News to where Australians spend most of their time: the workplace. By teaming up with the urban evangelism organization City Bible Forum, ABWE missionaries are sharing Christ inside secular businesses and training Christians to reach their unsaved coworkers with the gospel.

You can help us do more. Nearly $10,000 is needed to facilitate the final two 2014 series of The Forum, a bi-weekly public lunchtime discussion that welcomes seekers, questioners, and believers to learn more about the Bible inside their workplace. Your donation will help cover the cost of renting venue space and audio/visual equipment, along with paying for speaker fees and promotional materials.

Will you help us reach more Australians where they work?

If mailing a check: Please make it out to ABWE Foundation and include Urban Ministry-City Bible Forum L1410 in the memo line.

Just a reminder: Living for Jesus course

Regardless of what you do for a living, you may ask ‘How do I live as a Christian at work and how would I talk with work colleagues about Jesus?’

The Living for Jesus course is for you …and here is what it is about and how you can be involved.

The course introduces some basic Biblical concepts in being a Christian at work. Encourages people to see the opportunities for service in the workplace. Motivates workers to pray for their colleagues at work.

Living for Jesus consists of three 45 minute studies…
1. Working for God’s glory… being godly at work + living lives worth questioning & giving answers worth hearing

2. An eye for the harvest… seeing the workplace as a mission field

3. Speaking of God’s mercy… talking about Jesus at work

Audience: Work colleagues, small groups and/ or anyone keen to share their faith at work

Instructor: Russell Matthews

When: First three Thursdays in November:  6, 13 & 20 November

Where: Ankeny Free Church; 118 NW Linden St  www.ankenyfree.org

Time: 7-8:00 pm - Cost: Free to the public

Thank you for your prayers!
The Matthews

City Bible Forum & Rouse Hill Bible Church

Ministries in Australia

We are looking forward to sharing the ministry opportunities in Australia. Hope you are able to come along to hear mire about these exciting groups.

Rouse Hill Bible Church – Pastor Ben Kwok

The vision for the church-

  • Our church has a very simple and joyful style of worship. On a typical Sunday, our service will last for about one hour and it will be a mixture of songs, Bible reading and Bible teaching.  Our format works really well for young families and there is always space on “pram alley” along one side of the room.
  • Because we are a nondenominational church, you won’t find anyone dressed in special clothes and we try not to use words and phrases that are hard to understand if you are new to Christianity.
  • We are an evangelical church. What this means is that we love and follow Jesus Christ as he is described in the Bible.  We’re a community that is interested in spending time with each other – you might find us enjoying a picnic together at Rouse Hill Regional Park, at the movies, or at a local NRL game.

At this point it could be helpful to clear up the most common misconception about Christianity. Most people have some connection to Christianity either through their family background or through school scripture classes. You may think that the point of Christianity is to try and live your life in such a way that the good things that you do outweigh the bad things that you do

Unfortunately, this is not a true understanding of what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian means understanding the fact that there is something that separates us from God and that there is nothing that we can do to fix the problem.

Because we can’t fix the problem, God sent his only son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life and then to die in a sacrificial act so that his death covers what we have done.

We believe that Jesus defeated death and rose again in triumph. What we have to do is to believe in Jesus and live in the reality of what he has done for us.

Simply put, our vision is to be a place where people can learn more about Jesus and a community which loves one another and tells others about what Jesus has done.

City Bible Forum – Director: Peter Kaldor  Founder: Craig Josling

City Bible Forum is a partnership of Christians working together to proclaim Jesus Christ to People working Australia’s major business districts. We have ministry teams in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Why does it exist?

  • Over 500,000 people work in Sydney’s major business districts (Over 1.5 million in business districts across the country)
  • The workplace is a great place to get to know people and to talk to them about Jesus
  • Christians need help and encouragement to make the most of these opportunities

Sydney Prayer Breakfast 

The Sydney Prayer Breakfast is an annual event for Christians to pray for the city of Sydney. The organising body is the Sydney Prayer Breakfast Limited.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

Check out the links and the ministries and come along to hear more details of the work being done in Australia.  

 

Ask God and Iowa tour ’14

A new series at The Forum, Sydney

If you had a chance to ask God one question, what would it be?

And would you get an answer? Christians believe God speaks to us through the words of the Bible, which has answers to life’s important questions.

Each week in September, our lunchtime forums will be addressing questions posted on the askgod.com.au web site.  You can post your questions there and at the beginning of each week, a question will be chosen and announced on our website and Facebook page.  Our regular speaker, Ian Powell, will present an answer from the Bible, followed by an open Q&A with the audience.

Pray for the events in Sydney in September.

Iowa Tour ’14 

We are settled into wonderful house by Saylorville Church. Thank you to all of the church family for your work on this home and preparing a great place for us to live for the doing months.

We begin our tour of Iowa and our supporting churches. We will be traveling all over Iowa and to some of the surrounding states. We will be presenting to the churches information about Australia, City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church.

If you are interested in coming to hear about the work we are part of in the sunburnt country, email us and tell us where you live. We can share with you dates and the church that is closest to you. We invite anyone to come along and join in the conversation. Come ask your questions.

Thank you for your support and interest in the Lord’s work in Australia.

The adventure continues…

The Matthews

One week in… the questions begin: Concern with water in our toilets

We are excited about the US ministries over the next few months. The jet lag is fading and the motivation to talk about the work in Australia has already begun.

It is one week into our journey and the family has been traveling on the East Coast. We had a chance to talk with our kids about the questions that people ask when they hear we are from Australia. Many questions that we have heard before and some new ones.

We thought it might be a ‘teaching moment’ for all who might be interested. This is not meant to ‘have a go’ at people’s lack of knowledge ofThe Great Southern Land.’ Just to move people along in the process of getting to re-introduce The Matthews family.

The top six questions from this week:

1.  You can do missions work in Sydney? 

90% of the people of Australia live in the cities of Australia. It is one of the most urbanised countries in the world. Also, only 3-5% of the population follow Christ as their Saviour. It is a great opportunity for mission and we choose to do it where the people live. Check out the ministry we work with in Sydney and around Australia. City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church

2. Does the water go the opposite way in your toilets?

Americans fascination with our toilet water is interesting. The answer to ever important international question is yes and no. Water does travel in a different direction in the Southern Hemisphere, but our toilets flush differently. Not circling, but more of a whoosh sensation. So, does the toilet water travel a different direction? Not really. It all travels ‘down’ the drain. 

3. Do you have kangaroos and wombats in your back yard?

Nope, we live in a major metropolitan city.

4. That isn’t ‘American’ English’: Why do you use different words?

 We live in Australia and we use the vernacular from our home country. Can we ask that you not correct us on how we pronounce things? It has only been week, but it is getting a bit tiresome. If you have a question about what we are saying, see it as a way to learn more about another culture, mate.

5. Does it snow in Australia?

We do get snow during the winter in the mountains of Australia. The vast majority of Australia does not get snow. Just a side note, our seasons are opposite from the Northern Hemisphere.

Quick Australian weather reference: January: Hot, Summer; July: Cold, Winter

6. How long will this ‘missions thing’ go and when will you be done?

Unless God changes the plan, we are in Australia to stay. It is our home and unless Jesus returns soon, there is work to be done. Also, studying the Bible, we do not see ‘retirement’ as a Biblical precedence. The work may change over the years, but the location will be the same. Sharing the Gospel in the Sunburnt Country, Australia.

 Thanks for the questions. We pray you consider the intent of this update. We love talking with people about Australia, especially about the ministry work in Sydney. We thought we would answer some of the key questions up front. Please keep the queries coming and we look forward to seeing you in the churches and homes of the US.

Thanks for your support and prayers,

The Matthews

 

 

 

Who are you and why missions? Urban Ministry Strategists + repost of answers to questions

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We are preparing for our US ministry. So, we are going to help all to get some more background on us before showing up at your church.

This is a re-post of a previous update with a few additions. Every year we get questions from various missions classes from around the US. We have had the privilege to share these questions many times over the years with students. Interestingly enough, they are the same questions people ask us at churches. So, here you go, the answers to your questions. Class or church, you are welcome to utilise these answers to your questions about missions.

I will forewarn, my answers will be a bit different than other missionaries, but I hope they encourage and challenge you to think differently about missions.

Description of mission work:

Urban ministry strategists: (this description was approved by the ABWE Australia team) Russ: Bible study leader, marketing, personal evangelism training, public meeting coordinator, In House ( ministries inside corporations) coordinator, and promotions coordinator, church responsibilities, preaching & Bible studies. Cathy: Children’s leader at Bible Study Fellowship, scripture classes in public schools, women’s Bible study and successful management of our missions home.

What were some specific accomplishments in the area described above? Growth of the numbers and spiritual component of the people involved in ministries and church, (www.rousehillchurch.com) part of the team behind all City Bible Forum events in Sydney (www.citybibleforum.org/Sydney), growth in numerous evangelistic Bible studies throughout Sydney Business District. Please read through many of the events and stories on www.matthewsdownunder.com . You will find many of the events, stories and prayer requests on our monthly updates. If you are not receiving them currently, please sign up for the free RSS feed.

 

Answers to other questions:

1) Why did you choose missions?
I do not think we choose missions, I think that God chooses to send people to the mission field. Through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, God mobilises his people to do his work. The better question is: How did God direct you to missions? Studying the Word, Prayer and direction from Godly men and women. Interestingly enough, this answers the ‘call’ to missions questions, too. The question that needs to be asked to most people: are you even listening to God?

2) What were your first steps in becoming a missionary? 

  1. Pray about it…
  2. Being in the Word constantly
  3. Work: Are you doing the ministry work where you are now? If you are not doing the work that you will be doing on the mission field, where you are living now, then you cannot expect to do it here.
  4. Pray with family and friends
  5. Asking the question : Are you really meant for missions or full time ministry (I have met quite a few people who go to Bible College who are not meant for this work)? Asking God, our pastor and others on this direction.
  6. Pray some more… Praying involves listening. Are you listening?

3) Where did you receive your training for missions?

  1. Evangelism training
  2. Bible Knowledge – Church and Bible College
  3. Interviewing missionaries – Anytime a missionary is in our church or at our school, I would strive to grill them on life in missions
  4. Real Life – Doing work in the real world. I worked for 14 years in retail and sales. Cathy worked as a teacher. We saw people where they were living. We knew how to discuss things with them and how they live.

4) How soon after you graduated from college were you on the field? Bible College: 2 months; University: 14 years

I have a degree in business and a Masters from a Bible College. I went to Bible college after I had been in business for 14 years. So I went to the Australia quite awhile since I went to university, but shortly after I went to Bible College.

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5) Do you believe that the courses and life at your college adequately prepared you for your ministry on the field?

Yes and no, we think more of our skills for missions came from real life and learning from people. The Bible school portion was valuable and needed, but not nearly as important as real life.

Honestly, life on campus at a Bible College is not ‘real’, get out and experience the real world. Why? Because that is who needs Jesus.

6) Can you describe some of the gifts God gave you to minister on the field?

  1. Talking
  2. Listening
  3. Teaching
  4. Laughing
  5. Organisation
  6. Our family

I know the question is seeking spiritual gifts, but this is what truly helps us with moving forward with missions.

7) What was (is) the greatest challenge to you while on the mission field?

Other ministry workers & fellow believers who prefer tradition over sharing the Gospel.

8) If you have children, were they involved in the ministry?
They are one of the amazing gifts that the Lord has given us to know others. Having children allows us opportunities to be involved in our neighbourhood, local activities and school to reach out to people around us. They serve in the church in various and valuable capacities

9) Would you be open to having a short-term group on your field of ministry?

a. Yes with reservations, they would have to be a very special person. Someone who would be open to learning how to reach people here in Australia. Not someone who constantly is looking back at their experience in the US. Also, anyone who comes with the attitude that the ‘US is the best place for Christianity’ should not leave the US. Come to the field with a love for people and a desire to reach them for Christ.

b. The people who come should know their Bible, but not relying on their lessons in Bible College to communicate the Gospel.

c. A person who would be willing to come to Australia to serve the Lord, not to push their thoughts of what church should be based on their limited experience in life. (Sorry, kiddo, but anyone who is 18 years old or younger  is limited in life experience)(If that offends you, please choose another field to visit!)

10) If you were to begin your mission career again, would you go to the field as a member of a mission agency or independently?

Mission agency – Even though they have their challenges. There are not too many people who could go to a foreign field on their own and succeed without a team around them. These ‘pioneers’ know who they are and do not need to hear any of these things, because they already think they know the answers. The majority of people (99.9%) would be better suited to go with a mission agency.

11) What tips would you give us as we prepare for global missions?
a. Pray about it…
b. Get a real job first, go work in the real world for a few years and live with, talk with and understand the real world.

c. Get involved in as many evangelistic activities in your church and community as possible. (If you ain’t ‘doing mission’ where you are, why do you think you can ‘do missions’ somewhere else?)

d. Go on a short term trip

e. Be willing to go wherever God wants you to go (That could be the most expensive city in the world, Sydney)

f. Learn a different language

g. Pray about it some more

h. Talk with your pastor… should you even be considering this adventure of missions?

i. Pray about it again!

j. Know there are two categories for missions: Those who should be on the mission field and those who should pray and support missions.

k. Commit… if you are convinced you are going to do this and this is what God wants from you, go in 100%. No one year plan, no two year plan, no four year plan… jump in with both feet!

l. Go to our website www.matthewsdownunder.com or our Facebook page: Matthews Down Under, research us and other missionaries.

We are looking forward to seeing many of you in the coming months. Well, hope all of this helps you to know us better.

Thanks for asking and please feel free to ask me more questions, if you survived these answers.

Sincerely yours,

Russ & Cathy

(Yes, we use Australian spelling, because we are Australian)